February 10, 2015

REALLY Southbound on Seyon - Chesapeake, VA to Savannah, GA y'all!

Hey all y'all! (Did you know that "all y'all" is plural of "y'all"? That will never cease to crack me up!) Well, we FINALLY finished bringing the intrepid "motor yacht" (as my husband said relentlessly into the microphone when asking for bridge openings) SEYON the rest of her way to Flo-ri-da! And here's the route in 2 parts; Chesapeake, VA to Savannah, GA and Savannah, GA to Palm Beach, FL. 

For those unaware of this story, it started back in October when we left a dismal Marblehead, MA and headed straight for Norfolk, Virginia. You can read all about the trip in the two posts Heading South Onboard Seyon, and Southbound on SEYON - Part 2 of 1. After leaving the boat at the Atlantic Yacht Basin (a great boatyard!) in Chesapeake, VA we went home to get through the holidays. We finally made it back to SEYON in mid-January. Oops - time got away from us!

Needless to say, it was ccccold by waterway standards and we didn't see many boats, since all the smart people do the whole trip by mid-November.
So after a dinner with our GWU (George Washington U senior who came for dinner, but really to take the car for her senior spring, she's no dummy!) we had an early morning departure. I was feeling excited that we were on the ICW (Intra-Coastal Waterway) and smug that I had planned enough days so we wouldn't have to go "outside" in the ocean. Silly rabbit, didn't you learn anything?
We passed this fishing club close to the North Carolina border and didn't see much until our first stop - an early one because we were already having generator problems. Let the games begin!
 If any of you have the chance to do this trip, this is a MUST stop. Coinjock Marina in Coinjock, NC is THE place to refuel, get some surprisingly gourmet items from their store, and if you're REALLY hungry, their famous 32 ounce prime rib!! And no, that's not a typo! It's delicious even if it took us a couple of days to eat on the boat.
 Louis and his family have been running the marina for as long as we've been going South and North when we used to run charter boats out of Florida. And it's quite a business they've got, complete with duck hunting trips too!
I love this sign and want to make one for our house!
My MacGyver-of-a-husband was able get all these pebbles and other miscellaneous stuff out of the generator but by then there wasn't place to stop on the waterway for the night. So we stayed at the dock and left bright and early in the morning...
 …passing duck hunters in their blinds, decoys all around...
 through the creeks with funny names all leading into the...
…Alligator River. When the kids were little and we were doing this trip on a different boat, I hopped in our inflatable dinghy with the two girls and drove up this river to the next town, Belhaven. The girls were going stir crazy and they each wanted this picture of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. So we drove along this long, deserted river and up to this marina that had a copying machine so they could each have their own picture! What parents will do :)
Belhaven, NC was our next stop, and I apologize to any locals, but the people we've met each time we've been there have always given off a creepy "Deliverance" kind of vibe. We never stay long and don't get off the boat (except to copy Mary Kate and Ashley photos) but friends assure me that the best meal they've ever had was in Belhaven, so what do I know?
The next morning was beautiful and probably 38 degrees in North Carolina (!), in the Albemarle Sound. But it amazed me to see that (not many but still) others were doing the same trip at this time of year. 
Nothing says home like a Pepto Bismal house with its own lighthouse :)
 Things were looking up when we pulled into Casper's Marina in Swansboro, NC. The whale logo had me at "hello" - every preppy girl's dream. Swansboro is adorable! Very small, like don't-blink-small, but a great pit stop on the waterway! 
We stopped at one of the (oh, wait, it was the only) buildings that was open, and found the Bake, Bottle, Brew bakebottlebrew.com which just so happened to be having a WINE tasting! Music to this boat-weary crew's ears! We stayed there far too long, bought some wine and cute starfish ornaments leftover from Christmas and had dinner at the building to the right in this picture - just can't remember the name 'cause of all the wine!
 The next morning we left bright and early. Nothing says "good morning" like a sign that says "live firing"! Along this part of the waterway you hear warnings on the radio which only heightens your already-high blood pressure.
 This is all part of Camp Lejune, still in North Carolina, and you can see all the bullet holes from the soldier training.
My husband told me the funny story of seeing SEALS training here, all covered in mud. He and his crew waved "hi" to the SEALS who were unimpressed since they were supposed to be camouflaged. Ha ha!
 We pulled in for the night at the really nice Southport Marina in, you guessed it, Southport, NC. (fyi, it takes a long time to go through the waterway if you don't go around Cape Fear out in the open ocean. And after my last trip going that way, I understand why it's named Cape Fear!) Anyway, these giant holly topiary trees filled the parking lot! I couldn't believe my eyes because they were everywhere and so full of berries!
 It was starting to feel Southern because it was here where we saw our first pieces of Spanish moss hanging in the great old Live Oak trees.
 In town, was the neatest Maritime Museum but we only had 15 minutes to look around before they closed. It had an actual submarine periscope to peer into and see the waters we just passed through. And they also had many exhibits about shipwrecks and pirates along Cape Fear.
 Time for dinner and I was HOME! My husband and I used to own a restaurant so similar to this you would die! Only ours floated, and then it crashed on a beach, and it's a long story. But if you know me, then you'd know how happy this made me feel to go here. Don't you just love the name of the restaurant, "Fishy Fishy"?
Ahhh, I think there's a pina colada with a rum floater here with my name on it!
I think tables like this are in my future too - just sayin'
'Night all!
 The next morning, we started to go further into what is called the "Low Country" and saw remnants of livelihoods no longer, juxtaposed with...
 …wealth and lives full of perks. Being on the boat, the contrasts start to get into your head a little.
 More duck hunting blinds - this one just plopped on a sand bar next to the dredged waterway we're passing through.
I don't think these guys were too thrilled with our presence - scaring the ducks away and all.
 But it was Sunday and my New England Patriots, and Tom Brady (angels sing) were playing the Colts. A bar with two seats was waiting and I was ready with my hat on!
 Heading toward Myrtle Beach, my anticipation was getting the best of me.
 And passing Pats fans all the way down here (see the Brady 12 jersey?) made me scream and cheer!
Finding the bar where we'd watch the Green Bay Packers LOSE to the Seahawks, we settled in, ONLY to have these (gorgeous! damn them!) girls and COLTS fans sit right in front of us. Who's smiling now, eh girls? :)
The next morning, we moseyed through Myrtle Beach. Do you know that this town is famous for it's over 100 golf courses?  And this picture says it all! The gondola takes people from one side of the waterway over to the other, to the golf course!
 See skiers? A new way to travel, with the carts ready to get on the first tee!
And once away from civilization, we entered what's known as the Cypress Swamp. 
Super cool if you want to make a horror movie!
The moss and lichen cover every branch and nook and cranny. 
I only wish my camera could really show you - it's pretty amazing!
 Just little reminders of the dangers of living in these areas...
 …but then there are things that make you smile.
We stopped for the night at the Isle of Palms, which had a great store. I kind of think it's the only store on the small island outside of Charleston because it had everything from food to drinks to great clothes and gifts. I even bought this amazing silhouette showing an oyster boat and the low country life (I LOVE silhouettes) by Carew Rice, who made these for the White House when he worked there.
In the morning, after about an hour's travel, we passed the beautiful city of Charleston, SC. I think I could easily live there. There's so much history and FUN that exudes from the place.
 and the architecture isn't bad either! ha ha!
Don't you just want to have a bourbon on that top deck?
One of my favorite things about cruising down here are the dolphins that come to play and swim in the bow wave or the wake. I swear they see me waving at them! Hello!
We stopped for the night in pretty Beaufort, SC and it really started to feel like we were in the S-o-u-th (drawl implied). The temps were much higher and we even started seeing signs for manatees!

I went shopping (smart girl that I am) while my husband worked on the boat and found some great stores, all with cute names like Lulu Burgess and M Home and Garden. But it was Scout Southern Market that was by far my coolest find. I bought these adorable oyster plates and a bunch of other goodies, but it's the giant pineapple I covet and may just have to get!
So, after this amazing sunset and enjoying cocktails with our new friends from Mattapoisett, MA who happened to dock next to us in the marina, we all decided to have dinner at the Breakwater http://breakwatersc.com. I had the YUMMIEST boneless fried chicken and gravy that I've ever had and I plan to practice trying to replicate the recipe. It was soooo good!
The following morning's sunrise was just as pretty and we headed to Thunderbolt, GA, aka the waterway side to Savannah.
Keep reading the next post if want to see all the other "fun" we had!

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